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What is a DDoS Attack and How Do I Protect My Website?

A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack occurs when there is a malicious attempt to negatively impact the functioning of your website, server or network. DDoS attacks do this by flooding the target with increased traffic.

Due to the high level of incoming traffic from the DDoS attack, the target is overwhelmed and unable to respond effectively to requests from genuine users. As a result, your website may become unavailable to users or your loading speeds may grind to a halt.

How Does a DDoS Attack Happen?

Anyone can launch a DDoS attack, providing they have access to a network of devices with internet connectivity. Although people often use laptops and desktops to launch a DDoS attack, the Internet of Things (IoT) means that any device with internet connectivity could technically be used to facilitate a DDoS attack.

The devices on the network are infected with malware which enables someone (usually a hacker) to gain unauthorized, remote control over them. Each device is known as a bot for the purposes of a DDoS attack, while a group of bots is referred to as a botnet.

The hacker will then send instructions to the devices (the botnet). These instructions usually tell each bot to make a request to the target’s IP address. The sudden, unexpected increase in traffic overwhelms the server, at which point the target website becomes unusable and/or unavailable.

Protecting Your Site from DDoS Attacks

Due to the negative impact a DDoS attack can have on your website and your operations, it’s vital to have an effective strategy in place to minimize their risk. By upgrading your online protection, you can successfully stop DDoS attacks in their tracks. To get started, take a look at these top tips to protect your site:

1. Learn to Recognize DDoS Attacks

DDoS attacks use legitimate devices, which means it can be hard to differentiate between an attack and a legitimate spike in traffic. However, if you usually receive 10,000 hits a day and this suddenly increases to 10 million without any promotion, it’s probably safe to assume something is amiss.

Analyzing your website traffic can help you determine whether your website is the subject of a DDoS attack. If a significant amount of traffic originates from a single IP address, for example, this can be indicative of an attack. Similarly, unusual traffic patterns, such as a spike every hour, on the hour, can be a sign of a DDoS attack.

2. Create a DDoS Mitigation Strategy

No matter what type of content your site features, it’s vital to prioritize user safety. Including DDoS mitigation in your web security strategy will help to keep your site up and free from attacks. However, creating your own DDoS mitigation strategy can be tricky.

Complex DDoS attacks target different layers of your site, so it’s important to have protocols in place to protect each layer individually, as well as your site as a whole. Furthermore, you’ll want to ensure your mitigation strategy doesn’t deny service to genuine users.

Common tools and processes used in mitigation strategies include: rate-limiting; blackhole routing; network diffusion, and web application firewalls.

3. Choose a Server with In-Built DDoS Protection

One of the most effective ways to protect your site and enhance web security is to choose a server and hosting plan that offers in-built protection from DDoS attacks. By doing so, you can ensure that your site is protected by the latest security protocols, without having to lift a finger. Furthermore, you won’t have to invest in costly mitigation strategies for your business. Instead, you can rely on the experts to create reliable and sophisticated DDoS mitigation strategies that keep your site safe.

Prevent DDoS Attacks with CanSpace

At CanSpace, we know how important your site security is. From protecting your data to minimizing downtime, we implement a range of security processes to ensure you can operate safely. This means that all of our hosting plans and servers come with DDoS protection, free of charge!

What’s more – if your site does fall victim to an attempted DDoS attack, we’ll work with you to resolve the issue, rather than simply taking your site offline as many other hosting providers do.

When it comes to doing business online, unnecessary downtime can harm your bottom line and affect your professional reputation. By choosing a hosting provider you can trust, your site benefits from extra security and added protection. To find out more, get in touch with us!

CanSpace Team

CanSpace Solutions is Canada's leading domain name registrar and web hosting provider. Keep an eye on our blog for expert information on domain names, websites, and running a business online.